VINELAND — City Council voted unanimously Tuesday to ban smoking in its parks and on other public property.

Officials said the 5-0 vote to adopt the ordinance will help reduce tobacco use and decrease the amount of cigarette butts and smoking-related trash that litters municipal property.

The new regulations will take effect 20 days after the ordinance is signed by Mayor Ruben Bermudez. Bermudez said he will sign the legislation.

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Once in place, the city can fine violators $50 to $100 for a first offense, $100 to $200 for a second offense and $200 to $500 for subsequent offenses.

The vote essentially creates an entire city block on which smoking will be banned.

City Hall, Police Department headquarters and Board of Education offices all fill a block bordered by Wood, Plum, Sixth and Seventh streets. The city’s proposed regulations, and similar ones already enacted by the school district, will compliment a state ban on smoking in indoor public places and workplaces throughout New Jersey.

The American Cancer Society estimates about 25 percent of adults in Cumberland County smoke tobacco products. That is the highest adult smoking rate of any county in New Jersey. South Jersey counties have the highest adult smoking rate in the state, according to the society.

Another Cumberland County municipality, Lawrence Township, also voted this year to ban smoking at its publicly owned recreational properties.

In other action Tuesday, City Council voted 5-0 to finance more repairs at the Fire Department headquarters at Fourth and Wood streets.

The governing body approved an ordinance allocating $235,000 to pay for a new roof and masonry repairs. Work is expected to start next month or in April, city officials said.

The city is monitoring what local officials said are small structural cracks in the walls of the more than half-century-old building. City officials said the building has undergone several projects during the past 25 years, including having cracks repaired and its foundation strengthened.

The building is officially designated as Station 6, which houses the city’s paid firefighters and is located in one of the crucial areas of the city. The station serves the downtown business district, nearby high-rise buildings and apartment complexes, and some large industrial facilities, according to the Fire Department’s website.

Contact Thomas Barlas:

609-226-9197

Press copy editor since 2006, copy desk chief since 2014. Masters in journalism from Temple University, 2006. My weekly comics blog, Wednesday Morning Quarterback, appears Wednesday mornings at PressofAC.com.

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